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Jar Test Apparatus

Coagulation/flocculation is the process of binding small particles in the water together
into larger, heavier clumps which settle out relatively quickly. The larger particles are
known as floc. Properly formed floc will settle out of water quickly in the
sedimentation basin, removing the majority of the waters turbidity.
!n many plants, changing water characteristics require the operator to adjust coagulant
dosages at intervals to achieve optimal coagulation. "ifferent dosages of coagulants
are tested using a jar test, which mimics the conditions found in the treatment plant.
The first step of the jar test involves adding coagulant to the source water and mi#ing
the water rapidly $as it would be mi#ed in the flash mi# chamber% to completely
dissolves the coagulant in the water. Then the water is mi#ed more slowly for a longer
time period, mimicking the flocculation basin conditions and allowing the forming floc
particles to cluster together. &inally, the mi#er is stopped and the floc is allowed to
settle out, as it would in the sedimentation basin.
The type of source water will have a large impact on how often jar tests are
performed. Plants which treat groundwater may have very little turbidity to remove
are unlikely to be affected by weather'related changes in water conditions. (s a result,
groundwater plants may perform jar tests seldom, if at all, although they can have
problems with removing the more difficult small suspended particles typically found in
groundwater. )urface water plants, in contrast, tend to treat water with a high
turbidity which is susceptible to sudden changes in water quality. *perators at these
plants will perform jar tests frequently, especially after rains, to adjust the coagulant
dosage and deal with the changing source water turbidity.

To determine the optimum concentration of coagulant to be added to the source

+olumetric flask $,,--- ml%
(nalytical balance
Coagulants and coagulant aids
.agnetic stirrer $optional%
( stirring machine with si# paddles capable of variable speeds from - to
,-- revolutions per minute $/P.%
0eakers $,,--- ml%
Pipettes $,- ml%
1atch or clock
Turbidometer and sample tubes
)tirring .achine
,. "ecide on si# dosages of the chemical$s%.
2ou should use the chemicals in use at the treatment plant you visit. These
chemicals may include coagulants, coagulant aids, and lime.
The dosages should be in a series with the lowest dosage being lower than
the dosage currently used in the plant and the highest dosage being higher
than the dosage currently used in the plant. !nsert the si# dosages into
your data sheet.
!f pre'lime has to be fed, it is usually best to hold the amount of lime
constant and vary the coagulant dosage.
3. Prepare a stock solution of the chemical$s%.
!t is not necessary to know the purity $strength% of the chemicals you use
since the strength will be the same for plant operation. (ll results of the jar
tests are in parts per million or milligrams per liter. $, ppm 4 , mg/5%.
2ou will need to prepare a stock solution for each type of chemical used.
The strength of the stock solution will depend on the chemical dosages
which you decided to use in step ,. The table below shows what strength
stock solution you should prepare in each circumstance.
Approximate dosage
required, mg/L
Stock solution
concentration, mg/L
1 ml added to 1 L
sample equals
,',- mg/5 ,,--- mg/5 , mg/5
,-'6- mg/5 ,-,--- mg/5 ,- mg/5
6-'6-- mg/5 ,--,--- mg/5 ,-- mg/5
&or e#ample, if all of your dosages are between , and ,- mg/5, then you
should prepare a stock solution with a concentration of ,,--- mg/5. This
means that you could prepare the stock solution by dissolving ,,--- mg of
the chemical in , 5 of distilled water. 7owever, this would produce a much
larger quantity of stock solution than you need and would waste chemicals.
2ou will probably choose instead to dissolve 36- mg of the chemical in 36-
ml of distilled water.
*nce you decide on the strength and volume of stock solution to prepare,
the procedure is as follows8
,. 1eigh out the proper quantity of the chemical using the analytical balance.
Put an empty weigh boat on the balance and tare it. Then add the chemical
slowly to the weigh boat until the desired weight has been achieved. !t is
much easier to add chemical to the weigh boat than to remove it, add the
chemical very slowly and carefully.
3. .easure out the proper quantity of distilled water in the volumetric flask.
9. (dd the chemical to the distilled water.
:. .i# well.
!f lime is used, it is best to use a magnetic stirrer since lime is not
completely soluble in water. !n other cases, magnetic stirrers can still be

6. Collect a two gallon sample of the water to be tested. This should be the raw
;. .easure ,,--- ml of raw water and place in a beaker. /epeat for the remaining
<. Place beakers in the stirring machine.
=. 1ith a measuring pipette, add the correct dosage of lime and then of coagulant
solution to each beaker as rapidly as possible.
The third column of the table in step 3 shows the amount of stock solution
to add to your beaker. Two e#amples have been e#plained below.
!f you have prepared a ,,--- mg/5 stock solution, then , ml of the stock
solution added to your ,,--- ml beaker will result in a concentration of ,
mg/5. )o, if you wanted to have a chemical concentration in your beaker of
:mg/5, you would add : ml of stock solution.
!f you prepared a ,--,--- mg/5 stock solution and wanted to achieve a
chemical dosage of ,6- mg/5, then you would need to add ,.6 ml of stock
solution to your beaker.
>. 1ith the stirring paddles lowered into the beakers, start the stirring machine and
operate it for one minute at a speed of =- /P.. 1hile the stirrer operates, record
the appearance of the water in each beaker. ?ote the presence or absence of
floc, the cloudy or clear appearance of water, and the color of the water and floc.
The stirring equipment should be operated as closely as possible to the
conditions in the flash mi# and/or flocculation facilities of the plant. .i#ing
speed and time may vary at your plant from the times and speeds listed in
this and the following step. /ecord any alterations on your data sheet.
,-. /educe the stirring speed to 3- /P. and continue stirring for 9- minutes. /ecord
a description of the floc in each beaker 6, ,-, ,6, 3-, 36, and 9- minutes after
addition of the chemicals.
,,. )top the stirring apparatus and allow the samples in the beakers to settle for 9-
minutes. /ecord a description of the floc in each beaker after ,6 minutes of
settling and again after 9- minutes of settling.

,3. "etermine which coagulant dosage has the best flocculation time and the most
floc settled out. This is the optimal coagulant dosage.
( ha@y sample indicates poor coagulation. Properly coagulated water
contains floc particles that are well'formed and dense, with the liquid
between the particles clear.
,9. Test the turbidity of the water in each beaker using a turbidometer.
Pipette water out of the top of the first beaker and place it in a sample
tube, making sure that no air bubbles are present in the sample. $(ir
bubbles will rinse while turbidity will sink.% Carefully wipe the outside of the
sample tube clean. Place the sample tube in a calibrated turbidometer and
read the turbidity. /epeat for the water from the other beakers.
The least turbid sample should correspond to the optimal coagulant dosage
chosen in step ,3.
,:. !f lime or a coagulant aid is fed at your plant in addition to the primary
coagulant, you should repeat the jar test to determine the optimum dosage of
lime or coagulant aid. Ase the concentration of coagulant chosen in steps ,- and
,, and alter the dosage of lime or coagulant aid.
,6. Asing the procedure outlined in step ,,, measure the turbidity of water at three
locations in the treatment plant ' influent, top of filter, and filter effluent.